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Growers welcome progress on restoration of seed potato exports

Growers have welcomed news that will see Scottish seed potato exporters once again able to get their product into their historic Northern Ireland market.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the announcement on Monday night that agreement had been reached with the EU in the form of the ‘Windsor Framework’.


The framework paves the way for trading arrangements between GB and NI through a new UK internal market system, the 'green lane'.


It also still requires full EU process for third country goods moving into the Republic of Ireland, the 'red lane'.


Richard Thomson MP, who is leading efforts to restore access for Scottish seed potatoes, said the development was 'welcome progress'.


Prior to the UK leaving the European Union, Scottish seed potatoes were a crucial import for markets in the continent.


More than 75 percent of Britain's seed potato exports comes from Scotland, with the country exporting seed to 18 EU countries in 2020/21.


However, since January 2021, Scottish farmers have been unable to export seed potatoes to the bloc, including Northern Ireland, because of changes in trade regulations.


Mr Thomson, who is MP for Gordon, said the framework would help to restore Scottish feed potatoes to their "rightful export markets".


However, he said: “No one should be in any doubt that this is just a first step along the road to where Scotland needs to be, and that is to have our export markets in the EU fully restored.


“It is beyond disgraceful that businesses in my constituency and across Scotland have had to endure the disruption of not even being able to get seed potatoes into another part of the UK.


"Such was the incompetence of this UK Conservative and Unionist government in its delivery of Brexit, something it should not be forgotten that neither Scotland nor Northern Ireland voted for in the first place.”


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